The police’s organised crime unit have detained former interior minister Ivan Langer and senior police officers after a series of raids on Tuesday morning relating to the giving and receiving of bribes and abuse of office. Czech Television said that the police’s internal affairs squad had questioned the deputy head of the anti-corruption police, Jiří Jach, and the director of the criminal police, Milan Pospíšek. A search has been conducted of Mr. Langer’s home in Olomouc and a business partner of his, Ivan Kyselý, has also been questioned. The extensive operation relates to the Ševětín solar power plant in South Bohemia, Czech Television said. The magazine Respekt recently reported that CZK 100 million had disappeared during its construction.
The supervisory board of Czech energy giant ČEZ has confirmed the company paid former ANO deputy leader Radmila Kleslová up to 100,000 crowns per month for consulting services. Ms Kleslová, the mayor of Prague 10, herself admitted to Czech Radio that the amount had been less than half of that for a period of around 10 years, and 100,000 crowns for a year or year-and-a-half. She recently stepped down from the post of deputy leader at ANO, after coming under pressure in the media and from party leader Andrej Babiš over the issue. She had faced criticism over alleged conflict of interest, which she flatly denied. The ČEZ supervisory board found no fundamental reasons for misgivings over the payments. The politician’s contract with ČEZ is due to be terminated at the end of the month.
The Czech branch of Transparency International has launched a campaign for laws to be amended so that those who expose corruption or other illegal behaviour at work are better protected. Czech law has clear shortfalls in this respect, the organisation said. A survey linked to the campaign showed that around 70 percent of Czechs perceive ‘whistle blowers’ as heroes. However, only a fifth of those confronted by corruption said they raised the alarm with superiors or authorities.
Czech police have charged 15 doctors and 19 employees at two pharmaceutical companies with corruption, the spokesman for the anti-corruption unit Jaroslav Ibehej has confirmed. The news was reported by Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes. According to the daily, the doctors allegedly received kickbacks in return for pushing the pharmaceutical companies' products. Monies paid amounted to at least nine million crowns, but possibly ten of millions more; police are investigating an additional 200 doctors for possible involvement.
A meeting of the National Security Council over the allegations of corruption surrounding the state-owned company Czech Post and the Social Democratic Party is taking place on Thursday. The meeting was requested by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec. According to the allegations, a member of the Social Democratic Party requested a 3 million crown bribe, of which one million was to be for Minister Chovanec himself. The information appeared on the internet news site neovlivni.cz over the weekend. The minister has rejected the allegations and is filing charges of slander. The case is being investigated by the police. Speaking prior to the meeting, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said it was the government’s duty to respond to the alleged corruption.
The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has criticised the Czech Republic for not sufficiently penalizing corruption of Czech nationals and Czech companies abroad. According to the 2015 report on fighting bribery in business, which was carried out in 39 signatory countries, the Czech Republic doesn’t abide by an OECD convention on combating bribery in international business transactions. The Czech Republic, which had been criticised for not upholding OECD agreements in the past, has placed in the most poorly rated group of countries.
The police have proposed that files be charged against former politician David Rath and eight other people in connection with a case for which Mr. Rath has already received an eight and a half year jail term. The accused are suspected of manipulating public tenders and EU funds in the Central Bohemian Region, of which Mr. Rath was governor. The charges – which involve eight companies – were hived off from the one-time minister’s first trial in order to speed up the process. Mr. Rath has appealed the verdict in the initial case.
The General Inspection of Security Forces announced on Monday the arrest of the head of Litoměřice Prison, Tomáš Líbal, calling it the most serious corruption case related to the Czech Prison Service in 25 years. Mr Líbal allegedly tried to blackmail and also bribe the current head of the Prison Service, Pavel Ondrášek, who was appointed in 2014. Justice Minister Robert Pelikán told the Czech News Agency he expected the investigation to be resolved as quickly as possible.
A second investigation in the case of jailed ex-politician David Rath has come to an end, state attorney Jiří Pražák said on Tuesday. The police should hand the case file to the state attorney’s office in the coming days. The investigation concerns companies suspected of involvement in the manipulation of public tenders in the Central Bohemian Region, of which Mr. Rath was governor. The police have already charged 10 people, including Mr. Rath, in connection with the allegations, which relate to eight firms. The former Social Democrat minister of health recently received an eight and a half year jail term and was stripped of CZK 20 million after being found guilty in a linked case.
Anti-corruption activists have criticised a planned bill aimed at combating money laundering that will create a register of real owners of companies. In a statement on Tuesday the Centre for Independent Investigation said the legislation, which has been prepared for the Ministry of Finance by the Ministry of Justice, will not produce the desired outcome as its contents will not be complete. They and three other NGOs also say access to the data will be limited, with journalists only being able to use it to prevent “crimes and the financing of terrorism”. The Ministry of Justice said the bill was not aimed at creating a public database of firms’ ownership and power structures but at reducing money laundering and the financing of terrorism.